Kedah state polls: Will green wave surge in swing state?

28 Jun 2023 02:48pm
Photo for illustration purposes only. Bernama FILE PIX
Photo for illustration purposes only. Bernama FILE PIX

ALOR SETAR - The status of Kedah as a 'swing state' will be determined in the coming election to show whether Perikatan Nasional (PN) could hold on to power or the strength of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to halt the green wave by taking over the state government.

Looking at the current situation, a political analyst is of the view that the green wave said to have started in the 15th general election (GE15) with PN seizing control in 14 of the 15 parliamentary seats in the state is seen as easing off.

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Politics and International Relations senior lecturer Professor Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said after seven months since GE15, it is no longer accurate to gauge the momentum of PN’s wave for this state election.

"Political dynamics have changed, the establishment of a unity government at the federal level and the policies that have been introduced by the government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim can be seen and felt, the people of Kedah can judge all that.

"If this state election is held closer to the last GE, maybe the momentum of the green wave will have an impact on this state election, but seven months is quite a long time, especially for young voters have already been able to evaluate what the federal government and the Kedah government are doing," he said when contacted by Bernama here recently.

He said, although PN has the strength, a combination of PH and BN is seen as having the potential to take over Kedah due to several factors including the state's history as a 'swing state' where the main political parties have an equal chance to win.

"If you look at the history of Kedah, several years after being ruled by BN, Pas took over from 2008 to 2013 and BN took over again from 2013 to 2018, before being won by PN in 2018.

"The PN government that exists today was not formed by winning the election. So it is not impossible that Kedah will change its administration again after this state polls because of the people's voting pattern," he said.

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He said, another factor that may influence the people to make changes is the state government's relationship with the central government which should be maintained for the benefit of the people.

"Another factor is the people's assessment of the current Kedah state government's ability to deal with various issues. If the success of bringing in a lot of investment is the focus, then it is all the efforts of the federal government agencies, not the state government," he said.

Meanwhile, a political observer from Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) Muhammad Izmer Yusof has a different view on PN's momentum to face this state election.

The lecturer in the Department of Languages and General Studies, Faculty of Business and Communication at the university said looking at the attendance of people at PN programmes and lectures, the green wave is still strong.

According to him, the PH-BN coalition at the federal level needs to do something drastic to shift the people's support to them, including a 'quick win' policy that can have an immediate impact on the people.

"If we look at the previous government's introduction of policies that have an immediate and comprehensive impact on the people, including EPF withdrawals, moratoriums and so on. These are things that the people feel compared to the development and management allocations which are not felt directly," he said.

In addition, the parties in the Unity Government, especially Umno, needs to highlight the framework to regain the support of the Malay voters in Kedah after losing badly in the last GE.

Kedah has 36 seats and before the dissolution of the Kedah state assembly, PN has 20 seats (PAS-14, Bersatu-6); PH has 10 seats (PKR-5, Amanah-3, DAP-2); BN has two seats (Umno-2) and Pejuang (2).

Two more seats fell vacant when Gurun assemblyman from PKR Datuk Johari Abdul vacated his seat on Dec 18 last year, to be appointed as Dewan Rakyat Speaker, while Belantek assemblyman Datuk Mohd Isa Shafie who died on June 14. - BERNAMA

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